Over a cup: ‘Italian Zucchini Casserole’ the right fit for garden vegetables

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Diane Prather

‘Italian Zucchini Casserole’

• 1 pound of ground beef

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• ½ cup chopped green pepper

• 1 14-oz. to 14 ½-oz. Italian tomatoes

• 1 cup water (maybe more)

• 1 envelope spaghetti sauce mix

• 1 teaspoon salt

• A little minced garlic or garlic salt (to taste and optional)

• A little oregano and/or basil (to taste and optional)

• 1 cup instant rice

• About 4 cups zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

In a large kettle, brown the ground beef, onion, pepper, and minced garlic (optional) until the beef is brown and the onion and pepper are tender. Mix in undrained tomatoes, water, and spaghetti sauce mix. Stir. Add salt. Stir. Add other desired spices, such as oregano, basil, and garlic salt (if you didn’t use minced garlic). Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the rice. Mix. Add zucchini. Mix well. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Stir occasionally. Note: You may need to add more than 1 cup of water.

The fall season is here, but there are still late garden vegetables to cook.

We didn’t plant much of a garden this past spring, but I did put in two hills of zucchini, and even though the plants have been slow in producing squash, I’ve been picking a few.

Last night, I used about four cups to make “Italian Zucchini Casserole.”

I found this recipe a few years ago, and because it seems that zucchini casseroles sometimes taste a little bland, I added some ingredients to my family’s taste.

If you make the casserole, you might enjoy experimenting with ingredients, too.

The casserole is made on top of the stove.

To make “Italian Zucchini Casserole,” I use the following ingredients: 1 pound of ground beef; 1 medium onion, chopped; ½ cup chopped green pepper; one 14 to 14 ½ -ounce can Italian tomatoes; 1 cup-plus water; 1 envelope spaghetti sauce mix; 1 teaspoon salt; a little oregano and/or basil to taste (optional); a little minced garlic (optional) or garlic salt (to taste); 1 cup instant rice, and about 4 cups of zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces.

In a large kettle, brown the ground beef, onion, green pepper, and minced garlic (optional) until the beef is browned and the onion and pepper are tender. Mix in the spaghetti sauce mix, tomatoes, and water. Note: You may need to add more water. Add the salt and other optional spices (to taste).

Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the instant rice and stir well. Then add the zucchini. (You can add less zucchini if desired.)

Stir. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Stir occasionally. I did not cover the pot.

Serve with some Italian bread or rolls and a green salad.

What recipes do you have for cooking late summer vegetables?

If you have recipes you’d like to share, call me at 824-8809 or write to me at Box 415, Craig 81626.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2011.

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